I hope that the only people who read this review are not those who already know Torrez, and have already heard this recording. The Evening Drag was my first experience with Torrez, and I am completely smitten in love with this band, this record, and lead singer Kim Torres' voice. Kim is my new favorite female lead singer, adding her to my list, including Mary Timony, Kat Bjelland, Kim Gordon, Björk, and the lead singer from Slant 6 (R.I.P.). Her somewhat bored, tired, sad, and longing voice makes for a fantastic vehicle on which to travel through The Evening Drag.
Please keep in mind that my all time favorite band is the Cure, and I am drawn towards the more depressing corners of the music world, and The Evening Drag curls up with me very nicely in such places. Imagine taking the drums of Portishead, the guitars of Mazzy Star, and the Cure, the weird organs & archaic instruments of Mary Timony's solo work, and a vocal mixture of Mono's lead singer and Shirley Manson . . . voila Torrez. To be fair, though, Torrez is 100% its own band, and they copy no one, which is what makes the fact that this album was released on the small Kimchee label all the more fascinating.
The mood on The Evening Drag is heavy and somber; I don't use such words lightly, as many a band strive, intentionally, for such a mood and their pretension is usually quite obvious. I honestly think some really tragic things must have been going on Torrez's band member's lives when this was recorded, as their weariness is glaringly and painfully truthful. It truly seems to be the product of some really tough times.
The aptly titled "Trembling/ Freezing" is probably the standout track this album. The verse features a simple little drum beat, straight forward and plain. The guitars are strummed lightly, as a guitar with a spooky effect moans in the background. Kim Torres half whispers vocals of killing herself on a bleak winter's day, jumping from bridge. The chorus is absolutely delicious, as it varies little from the verse, yet begs to be heard. The guitars are strummed a bit more vigorously, and Kim continues her whisper, with an angelic voice behind it. Bone-chilling and incredibly beautiful, this song is an absolute stunner.
The rest of the album follows suit, in terms of sadness, despair, and longing for anything worth grabbing on to. I must admit that, at times, I felt almost guilty while listening to The Evening Drag; it's kind of like that perverted pleasure one derives from seeing someone else suffering or in pain; you know it's not right to like it, but there's something primal that invites the sights and sounds of sadness and longing. To make a long story short, I loved The Evening Drag, from start to finish, and this is one that I will hold dear to my heart for quite some time. This is one of last year's finest recordings, of any genre.